James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 3.84'
Flow: 1810 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 1:36am
Low Tide: 8:36am

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Google invades California National Parks

July 30, 2012 1:20pm

Terrain360.com screenshot of Belle Isle

It looks like our friends at Terrain360.com might have company — and not just any company — in their quest to take camera-based mapping where it’s never gone before. Google has rolled its “StreetView” technology off the city streets and into five California National Parks. You can now get the same StreetView experience at Joshua Tree, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Redwood, Yosemite and Death Valley national parks.

There’s a difference, though, and it’s a big one between what Terrain360.com does and what Google has done in those five parks. Richmond-based Terrain360.com actually takes you onto the trails in parks all over Virginia. Google’s mapping of five California national parks still relies on shots taken from the road in those places. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very cool to get a tour of Yosemite without having to go there, but it’s also very different from what Terrain360 is planning, say, with the Appalachian Trail in Virginia (offering a visual tour of the entire length of it).

Until the Googlers gets out of their cars and off the beaten, asphalt path — and I don’t see that happening any time soon — our friends at Terrain360 will still be the only ones in the country (as far as I know) doing what they do. Oh, and by the way, you can find their trail tours right here at RichmondOutside.com. Every local destination they’ve mapped, we’ve got a link to. Try Belle Isle, for instance.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?